Saturday, February 07, 2009

A squeaky wheel runs amok in ultra-hot hot weather (all about Lotus Notes 9.0)

Thanks to the great meeting place that PLANET LOTUS has now become, I came across the following post by Glenn Irvine: What I’d Love to See in Notes 9.0 (go take a look at it)

Let it be clear from the outset I have nothing whatsoever against the feature changes that Glenn is requesting. It’s just that when he talked about “Notes 9.0” I expected it it the be about, well, Notes 9 as a whole – but it only happened to be about several usability shortcomings in the mail application in Notes.

So I made the following comment (maybe because it’s around 10 AM and already warming up. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a real scorcher here in Victoria today. They reckon it will reach 44 degrees Celsius or more, which would make it the hottest February day on record down here, and very ominous for bushfires. (UPDATE: see what actually happened here.)

We had a couple of similarly hot days near the end of January. People, animals and plants are under considerable weather stress in our corner of the continent. The last rain of any significance was in December last. The weather was quite cool then, but it has warmed up with a vengeance recently.

A day or two ago, ex-Collingwood footballer Peter Daicos, when putting out his wheelie bin in North Balwyn (just a few kilometres away in the heart of suburban Melbourne) was bitten on the toe by a venomous red-bellied black snake. (Talking about snake, scientists have found in Colombia a fossil 13-metre giant snake, as long as a school bus, which used to devour giant turtles and primitive crocodiles. Scary.)

Another sign of the unusually warm stretch we’ve had here in south-eastern Australia is the fact that many of the less hardy deciduous trees have been dropping their leaves, months before the stat of our southern autumn.

Maybe this has put me a bit on edge, but I just commented on Glenn’s story as follows. Let me know if you agree, or otherwise:

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What disturbs me a bit about the content (but sometimes only the title) of posts like this is that all too often they’re restricted to talking about desired enhancements in apps bundled up with Notes. Often the comments are restricted to Notes Mail (as in your case above, Glenn) — or to iNotes or Sametime or one of the other IBM apps.

Understandably, IBM people (like our famous and most gentlemanly leader Ed Brill) often talk about specific enhancements in their own apps. Hey, I worked for IBM for a long time, and know that it’s hard enough to keep up with what IBM is announcing much less what happens outside IBM.

Many of the vast community of IBM business partners and independent ISVs, not to mention all those thousands of Notes customers big and small alike who roll their own apps (and some of whom have a vast inventory of such apps), do like what they see being added to or fixed in in Notes Mail.

But in many cases they also want major new generic enhancements in Notes. A perfect example of this would be the grouse new Xpages capability that’s just been released in Notes 8.5 for us all to savor.

Notes remains a fantastic application platform [for certain classes of apps] as we all know. While there have been many outstanding mainly server-related enhancements in the past few years (major compression improvements, DAOS, etc) it’s not quite as common for a startling application-building enhancement like Xpages to appear.

So what would I myself talk about when I say I’d like to see something new in Notes 9 or Notes 10?

How about a few REALLY big hitters, for generic app design and development? For one, the ability to design an application once and have it behave exactly the same in the Notes client and a web browser? (Not asking for much, am I?)

IBM in an earlier release used to make available what I’ll term “some trusty old Lotus Notes applications” which you’ll find listed here on my website:

They’re quite old and rusty pre-Domino apps (so are not web enabled), but my point here is that one thing they did at that point in time was to let people see that Notes is note just about mail (as important as mail still is), but that Notes is really very good for building a vast range of other application types.

The old hands at Notes (customers and others) were very worried that IBM had lost its way in the early part of this decade, but needn’t worry now since it’s apparent that IBM is solidly behind Lotus Software including Notes.

A recent extremely promising move from IBM is the decision to get behind and help push out the message that Notes is a great application platform, and that there are lots of free apps available from OpenNTF (and from a range other sources too, for that matter)

In summary, what I would have called this post is “What I’d Love to See in Notes 9.0 Mail” because there are LOTS of other bigger things I’d like to see in Notes 9 (and 10 and 11 and ad infinitum) as a whole!
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  1. Interesting point - and while I agree completely, I think you miss the emphasis. He/She probably meant What --I'd-- line to see in notes 9.0; whereas you've read it as "What i'd like to see in --NOTES 9.0--"

    If I had an "I'd like to see list" it would look different too.

  2. Nah, Andrew, not exactly that. What I'm really trying to get across is that he's in effect making a valid point about "What I'd like to see in Notes 9.0 MAIL" (because, for one reason or another, when many people talk of Lotus Notes they're actually thinking of the mail interface, since that's what they use 99 percent of the time or perhaps all the time).

    Whereas I personally think of Notes as a developer/administrator/architect/marketer in terms of it being an application deployment platform.

    A little story: I've only ever managed to get to one Lotusphere, way back in 1996 (When Notes R4 was new). As a consequence, I've been relying on local roadshow here Down Under in Melbourne, which unfortunately cannot relay in a half day much of what happens in Orlando (but better than nothing at all -- it's a real shame that LS sessions aren't recorded for playback over the Web).

    At this Lotus Comes To You event, there was a pitch on "What's New in the Latest Release of Notes/Domino" and they talked about all the enhancements to Notes Mail, Domino Server, Sametime, iNotes and similar). I was surprised that nothing was mentioned about enhancements for the Domino developer, and asked what they were in the Q&A session. I was "put back in my box" when one of the presenters said, in effect, we're not going to talk about these because only developers would be interested. Did I appreciate that? Of course not! (In fact, it was a very depressing public response from an IBMer, and the very opposite of Steve Ballmer's famous "Developers, developers, developers" dance!)

    Hey, I've been in the IT game for a good long while (this is my 40th year, though I actually started programming for several years before joining IBM in 1970). I'm interested in every aspect, from the broadest sales/marketing level down to the finest technical/programming level and everything in between, and in fact have to be deeply involved in each and every one of these things myself in my current state of being self-employed).

    So when anybody talks about "Lotus Notes" I tend to think in terms of "Notes as a whole" -- a means of designing and delivering diverse applications -- and always hanker to find out and salivate over any new DEVELOPMENT FEATURES (in Formula Language, LotusScript, Java, JavaScript, Xpages, IDE capabilities, whatever) which is where all the potential for the growth of Notes lies for IBM business partners, ISVs, customer developers, etc.

    Naturally, most of the new development features first show up in Notes Mail and the other IBM products, and that is its own form of goodness. But I reckon that IBM needs to pay quite a lot more attention to doing the "Developers, developers, developers" dance too, and the sooner the better.

    What I'd like to see is a raft of big hitter design/development features as significant as Xpages get serious focus from IBM. How about, for example, being able to develop an application once and then being able to deploy it equally well to the Notes Client and Web browser environment?

    Notes has an outstanding architecture, very relevant to this new century (though some faddists don't see this). There's still years and years of life left in it, but some surgery and massaging is sorely needed here and there to get it working at full speed again.